In the past year, organic fruits and vegetables have seen a surge of 13.1% in prices, while conventional produce has only increased by just under 10%.
Similarly, organic chicken prices have seen the steepest price hike of 19.5%. In contrast, conventionally raised chicken has only increased by 5.9% in the same period. This trend is also reflected in the prices of fruits and vegetables, with organic costs rising by 13.1% and conventional costs increasing by 9.9%.
Consumers' growing health and environmental consciousness drive the increasing demand for organic food. However, due to rising prices, many consumers find it challenging to switch from conventional to organic. To address this concern, we will explore various ways aimed at helping individuals save on organic food expenses.
Shop at Store Brands
Christine Luken, a financial coach and founder of Financial Dignity, says shopping at stores like Aldi is one of the best ways to save money on organic foods. Aldi carries organic fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and packaged foods for 30-40% less than the chain grocery stores.
This German-based grocery store chain keeps its prices low by being short on frills – there's no fancy deli or bakery – and high on efficiency. You bag your groceries and need a quarter to get your cart, so there are fewer employees in the store.
Aldi also has a double-your-money-back guarantee if you don't like one of their products, so it's a win-win situation!
Shop The Dirty Dozens and Clean Fifteen
Eric Leider, CFP, founder and life planner, MVMT Life Planning, acknowledges the importance of eating organic food to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But to save money on organic food purchases, he suggests buying organic versions of the “dirty dozen” produce items that are most likely to have higher levels of pesticide residue.
These include, among others, strawberries, spinach, and apples for produce that is less likely to have pesticide residues. For “Clean Fifteen” items like avocados, asparagus, sweet corn, and pineapple, consider buying non-organic versions. He adds that buying produce in season can help you save money while ensuring freshness and flavor.
Find Local Farmers Shop
One of the easiest ways to save money is by shopping at local farmers' markets. You can find fresh, locally-grown produce, and you can often get better prices on organic fruits and vegetables than you would at a grocery store. Additionally, you can usually buy in bulk at farmers' markets, saving you even more money in the long run.
Consider Growing Your Organic Food
“Even if you don't have a large backyard, you can still grow herbs, tomatoes, and other vegetables in containers on a patio or balcony,” Leider says. You'll enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food and saving money on organic food purchases.
Look for Organic Food Nearing Its Expiration Date
According to consumer savings and budgeting expert Andrea Woroch, store management offers organic food markdowns, also known as manager specials. When food is approaching its expiration date, it can be purchased on sale (aka, best buy or sell by date).
This can save you up to 70% on organic meats, poultry, seafood, and dairy products. However, it may require some reverse meal planning, as you won't know what's on sale at your local grocery store until you arrive. Download a meal planning app, such as Cooklist, to help you discover recipes and necessary ingredients while on the go.
Use Online or Mobile Coupons
Although Woroch points out that coupons are less common for healthy foods like organic products, you can still save money on your grocery order by using coupons when making an online purchase to lower the order total. Sticking to your healthy food list will help you avoid unhealthy options and overspending.
She mentions CouponCabin, which she says offers $20 off with free delivery and 3% cash back at Vons.com, $30 off $75 with Drive Up and Go orders and 3% cash back at Safeway, and $25 off $75 and $11.25 cash back at Stop and Shop.
She adds that the grocery store app may also provide a coupon for money off your total purchase or product-specific discounts, including on organic food. For example, Alberton's For U rewards app offers a $5 discount on a $25 purchase that can be redeemed at checkout when you download the app.
Earn Cash Back With a Rewards App
While grocery coupons frequently only apply to boxed and junk foods, Woroch says you can still save by using a free rewards app like Fetch to take pictures of your receipts and earn cash back on your organic purchases.
To balance future food purchases, the savings expert claims that you can accumulate points for free gift cards to several retailers, including ones that sell organic food like Target and Sam's Club. Check out the app's “special specials” area to see which retailers or brands will give you more points so you may earn free gift cards more quickly!
Buy Bulk Organic Food Carefully
Although bulk packages and bags offer the lowest unit cost, Woroch warns that overbuying can lead to food waste, which is the same as throwing away money.
Rather than buying multiple small fruit containers, consider what your family will consume and buy one large container. To avoid waste, it's preferable to go grocery shopping for these fresh, healthful foods more frequently.
Pay With a Cash Back Credit Card
Again, finding savings on organic food isn't as easy as finding deals on packaged and processed foods, Woroch admits. The best way to save, she says, is to pay wisely using a credit card that gives you extra cash back for grocery stores or a flat-rate cash back card.
The extra money you earn on your food purchases can help pay off your grocery bill as long as you apply your rewards as a statement credit.
For instance, she observes that the American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card offers 6% cash back on supermarket purchases up to $6,000 annually.
Likewise, the Bread Cashback American Express card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases, regardless of where you shop or what you purchase.
Comparing credit card reward programs on sites such as CardRates will help you find offers with the most cash back based on your shopping habits.
To mitigate waste, Luken advises that before heading to the grocery store, check your fridge, freezer, and pantry. Plan your meals and recipes using what you have, and put anything you're missing on the grocery list!
Ways To Save
While the surge in organic food prices may be a cause for concern, it is important to take actionable steps that can mitigate the impact on budgets. By exploring options such as growing one's own produce, using coupons, purchasing in bulk, and meal planning, individuals can make healthier and more sustainable food choices without breaking the bank.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Amaka Chukwuma is a freelance content writer with a BA in linguistics. As a result of her insatiable curiosity, she writes in various B2C and B2B niches. Her favorite subject matter, however, is in the financial, health, and technological niches. She has contributed to publications like Buttonwood Tree and FinanceBuzz in the past and currently writes for Wealth of Geeks.